HISTORY OF THE HOUSE OF WORSHIP

The Beginning

 

The story of the Samoan House of Worship begins in April of 1974 when the world governing body of the Bahá'í Faith called for the construction of a House of Worship in what was then Western Samoa. It was the first to be built in its area of the world – the Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands.

 

In November of 1975 the area of Tiapapata in the cool mountain heights of Upolu Island was chosen as the spot for the House of Worship. The original temple site was only about half of its present size, and lacked direct access to the main road. Only later was the land purchased where the majority of the gardens now lie.

 

Before construction could begin, the land needed to be cleared of bush and rocks. In February of 1977 the first caretakers of the Temple site began working to prepare the land for construction. Early on, a meeting center was also built – the precursor of the present visitors’ center.

 

In April 1978, after consideration of a number of building designs, Husayn Amánat was appointed as architect of the House of Worship.

 

Before construction could begin, the land needed to be cleared of bush and rocks. In February of 1977 the first caretakers of the Temple site began working to prepare the land for construction. Early on, a meeting center was also built – the precursor of the present visitors’ center.

 

In April of 1978, after consideration of a number of building designs, Husayn Amánat was appointed as architect of the House of Worship.

 

The Temple Cornerstone Ceremony – Construction Begins

 

Almost a year later in January of 1979 the Samoan Head of State, Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II, laid the cornerstone of the House of Worship, symbolically initiating construction. Also present at that ceremony was the well-known Bahá'í dignitary Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum, who had brought a small silver casket holding dust from the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel in Israel.

 

 

Tenders of construction were let in June of 1980, and the contract eventually went to a construction firm in New Zealand. On the 18th of December 1981 the first concrete was poured. In the coming months work progressed steadily, though not without the difficulties that might be expected of such an ambitious project carried out in a developing country. Building materials flowed to Samoa from all over the world, and slowly the House of Worship began to take shape.

 

The House of Worship Opens its Doors to the World

 

Three years later construction was completed, and the official dedication ceremony was held in September of 1984, with numerous guests and dignitaries attending. The festivities culminated with the House of Worship being officially dedicated to the oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the oneness of humanity. Its doors were now open to all who wished to visit.

 

Since that time the House of Worship has become a well-known landmark in Samoa. Significant work has continued over the years to make it ever more inviting to visitors. One of the many development projects has been the addition of numerous native plants and flowers which has slowly transformed the grounds into the beautiful gardens seen today.

 

Yet to Come

 

The House of Worship continues to develop to better serve the needs of its many visitors. Great effort is exerted not only to make the site ever more attractive, but to provide programs and services of benefit to the surrounding community. The Bahá’í Holy Writings outline a vision of the House of Worship not only as a place of spiritual gathering, but surrounded by various social institutions such as a hospital, orphanage, university, and others. In this way it will provide impetus for both the spiritual and the material advancement of humanity.

 

‚Äč© NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA'IS OF SAMOA
 

The Bahá’í House of Worship, Tiapapata Samoa 

Phone: (+685) 20385 * P.O. Box 1117, Apia, Samoa
Email: secretariat@bahaisamoa.ws